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Dumbarton-based Galt Transport played a key role in helping the UK’s only giant pandas’ recent return to China, taking the much-loved animals from Edinburgh Zoo - their home for the last 12 years - to Edinburgh Airport, where they made their onward journey by air.

The special cargo was loaded onto the haulier’s new 6x2 Volvo FH with 34ft urban curtain sided trailer. Weighing just over 1 tonne in total - Yang Guang and Tian Tian - travelled in specially made luxury crates to protect them from the sights and sounds of the journey.

The bears have been popular with visitors from all over the UK since they were loaned to the UK from China in 2011. Many admirers of these special animals have made a trip to Edinburgh to say their fond farewells in recent weeks. Visitor access to the pandas was restricted in the days leading up to their departure to allow them to prepare for their journey.

Weeks of planning and arrangements were required to ensure the journey was as straight forward as possible to ensure minimal disruption for the animals. The trailer was loaded by zoo staff and Galt driver Dougie Gill drove the precious cargo through the streets of the capital to the city’s airport. The animals will be accompanied by their keeper and vet on the flight to China to allow them to settle into their new surroundings.

Established in 1947, Galt Transport operates in UK and European haulage with its fleet of 50 vehicles and over 100 trailers. The flee includes crane equipped tractor units and rigids that haul a vast variety of load types up to STGO CAT 3 specifications.

Galt Transport also provides specialist lifting services and industrial storage from two sites in Dumbarton, which are supported by a number of designated operating centres across the Central Lowlands and Scottish Borders